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Lake effect snowstorm to slow down truckers, supply chain in the Northeast

The “lake effect snow machine” keeps cranking across New England and parts of the northeastern U.S. for the next two days. However, heavy snow will also be an issue away from the Great Lakes. It’ll be tough to move freight as huge amounts of snow pile up and blow around. Winds will be strong enough to cause whiteout conditions along some routes.

There’s already snow on the ground in many parts of the region, but according to the National Weather Service an additional 10 to 20 inches of snow could pile up today through Wednesday from Buffalo to Jamestown, New York. Expect major delays on I-90, US-62, and US-219. Wind gusts of 40 mph will make deadheading or hauling light loads even more dangerous and could drastically reduce visibility because of blowing snow.

Twelve inches or more of snow could fall in the eastern Adirondack Mountains and the higher elevations of central and southern Vermont. This will affect drivers on I-87, I-89, and I-91 as well as US-4, US-5, and US-7. Wind and poor visibility will be issues in these areas, too.

Snow will also cause problems across central and northern New Hampshire, with an additional five to nine inches in the forecast from Concord to Berlin. This, along with wind gusts, will slow down truckers on I-93, SR-166, US-2, and US-302.

More snow will cover most of Maine today, with six to 12 inches across much of the Pine Tree State. Pockets of heavy sleet will mix with the snow in some areas, with parts of northern Maine receiving 12 to 17 inches of snow. The snow will change to rain in some areas along and just north of the I-95 corridor this afternoon and evening, leading to very slushy conditions. As temperatures drop to freezing or below freezing late tonight, there’s a good chance of roads becoming icy, making driving impossible in many spots.

Expect major delays of freight movement not only because of bad driving conditions, but because of possible road closures. The latest information on road conditions in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont can be found on this web site. Air freight could also be affected by delayed or canceled flights. Inbound tender rejections could increase in the Albany (ALB), Augusta (AUG), Buffalo (BUF), Bristol (BNH), Rochester (ROC), and Syracuse (SYR) markets in the coming days. If this happens, expect decreasing capacity in these areas.

Fleet managers should watch the weather closely in this region, planning alternate routes for their drivers or waiting until the system fades and road conditions improve. Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Weather Advisories have been issued for today and tonight. Look look for updates on this interactive map.

Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.